Neighborhood bars all have their own stories, and some of those stories involve fun — and sometimes weird — bar mascots. Here are some of our favorite neighborhood bars with great mascots, including animals and characters that represent the bar's spirit:
Mugsy's Bar7950 East Mississippi Avenue
Dogs make great bar mascots. An especially cute pooch is the namesake of Mugsy's Bar, a real-life puggle belonging to owner Todd Landow. I have never met the real Mugsy, nor have many of the folks who frequent the bar, but I feel like I have because of Mugsy's likeness on the bar's business cards, intended to give the dog a badass mafioso look, complete with fedora, cigar and scowl. Aside from the doggy representing the place, Mugsy's is known for its friendly staff and customers, and a few unusual finds such as a No Fear pinball machine and Agwa de Bolivia liqueur, which tastes like herbs and cinnamon.
Fat Boy's Sports Bar and Grill10660 East Alameda Avenue, Aurora
Fat Boy's serves fat portions of all kinds of tasty bar grub, and according to the bar's website, this all originates from the mysterious Fat Boy character that shares the bar's name. According to the "Legend of Fat Boy," he was a hefty baby from Chicago who grew into a big man committed to great service, big portions and affordable deals on food and drinks. Fat Boy also reportedly had his secret recipes locked in Al Capone's vault, but luckily for us, they were found and are used today in the bar's kitchen. We recommend Fat Boy's for competitive karaoke on Thursday nights, a nice list of local craft beers, and a welcoming environment to watch any sports event you're into.
Spanky's Roadhouse1800 East Evans Avenue
Spanky was a fan favorite as a part of the Little Rascals televison and movie franchise in the 1920s and ’30s, and the revival in 1994 that millennials are more likely to remember. The character also makes an appearance, complete with propeller beanie, as the mascot for Spanky's Roadhouse in the University of Denver neighborhood. A mainstay for many DU students and families with kids who live nearby, the bar features creative brunch options, boozy milkshakes, and souvenir "buckets" of punch in addition to the more traditional pitchers of beer. I'm sure the guy who played Spanky, George McFarland (who actually used the nickname in real life), would be proud.
The Brutal Poodle1967 South Broadway, Denver
Not to be outdone in the canine bar mascot department, the Brutal Poodle, a relative newcomer, really builds the bar decor around its poodle mascot. The cute yet fierce poodle mascot adorns menus, signs and windows, while other metal and punk-rock pooches are depicted in posters and paintings on the walls. Even the monthly rotating outdoor mural on the patio sometimes includes some canine flair. The Brutal Poodle is not just your spot for rock ’n' roll dog art; we also suggest Headbanger Karaoke on Tuesday nights, and trying out anything on the food menu full of unique twists on comfort foods like mac and cheese, burgers and even pho.
Majestic Saloon3140 South Parker Road, Aurora
The Majestic Saloon's mascot is rather clever: It's a jester — no jest. The odd little jester mascot loves holidays, as does the team at the Aurora watering hole. Drink specials and major decorations abound for St. Patrick's Day, Cinco de Mayo, Halloween, Thanksgiving and almost any other holiday on the calendar. Whoever designed the character also creates versions of the jester with holiday garb to go along with the promotional materials for each celebration. Once you're done trying to figure out what the lumpy little guy is supposed to be, try the Majestic's Mexican food and stick around for the occasional live bands and comedy shows hitting the stage in the spacious bar.
Drunken Monkeys Neighborhood Tavern7667 Washington Street
For a friendly little bar with a friendly little mascot, stop by Drunken Monkeys in Welby. Along with a painting of a monkey on one wall of the joint, there is also a wooden statue of a tipsy primate chugging from a liquor bottle that brings the mascot to life. A customer gifted the statue to owners Janelle and Tony Leyba, and on most days, there's a towel covering up the drunken monkey's swimsuit area. However, when the customers and the monkey get a little rowdy on the weekends, sometimes the monkey statue ends up in his birthday suit. Grab a drink at Drunken Monkeys and enjoy ping-pong, welcoming regulars and possibly a ghostly encounter in the bar that occupies an old building with a checkered past.
Badger's Pub76 South Broadway, Denver
Lots of people (mostly people from Wisconsin) love Wisconsin in this town, but the folks at Badger's love it so much that their bar mascot pays homage to the University of Wisconsin's Bucky the Badger. The bar mascot not only signals to Wisconsin fans that they are welcome, but lets all the denizens of Denver's Baker neighborhood know that they can come in and enjoy an establishment that doesn't really cater to any one type of customer. Hipsters, bros, old-timers, and crowds of the new Denver, old Denver and Midwestern variety all co-exist in this unpretentious bar known for cheap drinks, televised sports and good company.
The Dirty Duck4780 East Evans Avenue
The sign outside this east Denver canteen, with its drunken-duck mascot, let me know it's my kind of place. The duck theme is pervasive throughout the dim interior, with rubber duckies from all over the world brought in by various friends and patrons. There are also great shirts with the Dirty Duck mascot for sale in case you need a souvenir. The Duck is a true neighborhood standby for Virginia Village residents — the kind of place that regularly celebrates birthdays, anniversaries and milestones of regulars and bar staff.
The White Horse Bar5130 West Alameda Avenue
The image of a horse on the sign above the White Horse glints in the sun like a beacon along West Alameda Avenue in Westwood. The rest of the bar isn't so shiny, with a ’70s vibe and a few feral cats that split time between the parking lot and the bar, but it's full of cheap drinks and colorful characters. Behind the bar, the decorations include various horse statues and images, as well as photos of famous Denver folks like John Elway having a drink back in the day. The story of how the bar got its name and mascot might be lost to history; the saloon has been around since 1926 and is one of Denver's last remaining true dive bars. Whatever the reason for the name, ride on in to the White Horse for a mascot and a watering hole like no other.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.